Palmer Fest

A festival-goer at Palmer Fest in 2019. Photo by Jordan Kelley.

With the arrival of the spring season drawing near, Ohio University and City of Athens leadership issued a joint reminder to OU students in regard to social gatherings.

OU President Duane Nellis and Athens Mayor Steve Patterson created a message, shared in a press release Monday, to remind students that they are required to follow provisions outlined in the Presidential Health Directives, as well as state public health orders related to public gatherings.

Specifically, per an Ohio Department of Health directive, any gathering of 10 or more people “occurring outside a single residence and the real estate on which it is located, or an apartment, condominium, or dormitory living unit” would be prohibited.

This includes festivals, the press release stated.

“As such, the City of Athens will not permit these events to take place as long as the Health Director’s order remains in effect,” the statement reads.

The university and City noted that “any attempt to assemble in violation of the Health Director’s order will result in immediate action by law enforcement, with charges for those in violation potentially including criminal offenses such as misconduct at an emergency, failure to disperse, and riot.”

In addition to criminal charges, Nellis and Patterson warned, one or more of these charges could also result in suspension or dismissal from any public university in Ohio.

Criminal charges could also result in the suspension of state-funded financial aid for a period of up to two years, the statement said.

“We cannot overstate the seriousness of this situation and thus, for the sake of everyone’s health and safety, we strongly discourage any attempt to organize large gatherings while the Health Director’s order remains in effect,” Nellis and Patterson wrote.

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